Accuracy is not the greatest virtue of the Senegalese. Or at least these are our impressions so far. Therefore, at the time of departure from the hotel 8.40, we still have breakfast at 8.30 and enjoy the greenery around.
Our guide Ali and our driver Tafa arrive in time – we are beginning to enjoy the accuracy of the tourism sector. We take the deserted streets of Dakar (it’s Sunday).
Festive mood, a market here and there and colorful Car Rapids – as always loaded with people and luggage, and with someone snagged back.
We keep on talking with Ali and Tafa about tolls of the nice highway, about what people can afford in Senegal, about learning foreign languages in the tourist market. Our first hour together passes in a constant conversation.
Sunday Chtistian liturgy in Keur Moussa
We are headed to the Keur Moussa for Sunday Christian liturgy. In the woods to the small cathedral a lot of people have gathered together – 90 percent of them women – singing and dancing, ready to begin the service. The speak the official language of the country French, they sing and smile sweetly, they bring chairs for us to not stick out straight. Good Christians.
It seems this place attracted people from far away, there are tents to sleep in, and a big pile of suitcases, backpacks and bags. Lunch is cooked in quantities as for a serious rural fair in Bulgaria, but our plan is to continue further north to the fishing village of Kayar (Kayar).
Kayar fishing village
The village of Kayar turns out to be a huge center for fishing activities in the area. Hundreds of boats reel in the ocean, some of which remain to fish for days.
Fishing is the main livelihood of the population, and Senegalese fish feed the world. A boat is inserted and ejected from the water by at least 20 young men. Fish is cleaned by women, storage is under the shadow of a moored boat or on top of special devices for sun-drying and salting in preparation for transportation. The fish and sea food leftovers are discarded at sea which brings very unpleasant sight and smell. I do not know whether it is better for the environment, whether big fish eat this. But this is disastrous to the cleanliness of the beach.
In general we can see all processes related to fishing and distribution of fish. That includes worn-out refrigerators that do not even remember that they were once refrigerators. They look like commodes and have the rusty color.
We pass through the sector for repair of boats in the machine where protect its trade secrets and not let us shoot. The “small” village boils business for millions. And once one minister they had let the Chinese to fish. Big mistake – not enough fish in the sea so the locals starved. But how can one feed a billion of mouths, huh?
Transportation and Senegalese traffic patrols
Driving in Senegal is not quite boring. Besides the villages where on Sunday families relax in the shade beside the road, we pass through traffic police. For our first day on the road we are stopped at least three times. Ali and Tafa argued that these were not corrupt, yet our outlandish faces attract attention. Sometimes, however, the police sincerely begged for a thousand bucks to buy breakfast, and they gave them. Just because they asked honestly. Bravo, sincerity over insolence.
Our lunch today is choux fish, of course, at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It may be in the middle of nowhere, but mosquitoes know it as well as several foreign early afternoon drink lovers.
Then we head further north towards the desert of Lompoul. In the village we leave our Dacia (which comes from Romania all the way to Senegal) to transfer to a 4×4 vehicle. It has no roof and speeds away across the sands towards the eco-village where we will spend the night. First we pass trees, bushes, gardens – planted with cabbage. After the last hill and another spin in the sand we see several tents and sand dunes to infinity. We will spend the night here.
And the smells are spread quickly – the door of the tent does not close, they are designed like this. Just drop the canvas and some night breeze will caress your face. And what is romance if not a silhouette on the toilet, fleeing shadows in sandy towels, stripped girls at kerosene light? Yes, the romance of the desert.
For the first day out of the capital Dakar, we had an intense and enriching program. We became part of a religious service in Keur Moussa, got acquainted with the primary fishing sector in Senegal, and left footsteps in the sand dunes of the desert. On our way we sealed the image of a lazy Sunday, we smiled at road patrols. We ate the local fish delights and mosquitoes greeted us welcome with a few bites.
So many different experiences were offered to us by Senegal for one day only. Can you imagine what will be awaiting us in the remaining five?
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